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Casey12081 08-05-2009 03:33 PM

Concrete Stairs Cover-up

I want to cover concrete steps with something more appealing. I was thiking some type of tile, such as slate. I am looking for a "how-to" guide on how to do it. For instance, what tools will I need? And as far as materials, how do I estimate how many tiles I will need? How do I make a template to lay out the tile? And I read that slate is hard to maintain, is this true? Thanks for helping out a rookie!:thumbsup:

PaliBob 08-05-2009 04:09 PM

Casey, Welcome to the forum
  1. Are these steps exposed to the weather?
  2. Do you ever have snow or ice conditions?

Tile or slate will be much more slippery.
Can you post a pic?

Casey12081 08-05-2009 08:18 PM

That was quick!

It's 2 concrete steps at the front door to the house. I am in Virginia, so I don't think that weather will be a factor, other than rain? It's night now, but I will post a pic first thing in the morning. Thank you!

Casey12081 08-06-2009 12:55 PM

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Okay, here is a picture of my steps. I am really open to anything other than concrete. Attachment 12583

Hope this helps and thanks again for the reply Bob!

stadry 08-07-2009 07:21 AM

3 Attachment(s)
here're 3 done after removing all tiles which'd loosen'd & been damag'd over the yrs,,, loosening was due to wtr infiltrating grout jnts & subsequently freezing,,, i used a lot-rpm 1/2" mixing drill, trowel, & roller/frame for applying sealer,,, we live in atl - far south of va,,, no matter where you live, weather is ALWAYS a factor,,, conc expands & contracts just a much in the south, mid-atlantic, & north - hi-skool physics, remember ? ? ?

we used elitecrete but its my retirement trade,,, you can locate similar generic mtls but NOT at any apron store.

Casey12081 08-07-2009 07:40 AM

That's fantastic! Exactly what I am looking for too. Hopefully I can come close to having mine look that good. Can you tell me what you used in the first and third pictures? Brick and Slate? What kind? And which is easier in terms of installation; really tools as I will have to rent a wet-saw, etc. Thank you for the reply!

Bud Cline 08-07-2009 06:45 PM

Casey you won't need a wet-saw to duplicate what you see in those pictures. There is no tile anywhere in those pictures.:)

I'll let irc explain it to you.:)

Sure is beautiful work!:)

stadry 08-07-2009 07:23 PM

thanks, bud,,, appreciate the kind words - btw, having a tile guy re-do our mstr bath at the shore,,, its HIS trade/skill/craft,,, i'll stay w/my own :)

casey, the top was done w/pool trowel & .375 diamond blade on a 4" grinder; middle w/stencil & pneumatic-power'd hopper gun; btm w/tape,,, seriously ! ! !

such is the power of polymer-modified cement concrete,,, btw, the thickest overlay's the middle 1 @ about 1/8" w/compressive strength of 5,600#psi & flexural strength of 350#psi,,, adhesion's mechanical & chemical,,, cost avg'd $6sf including 2 coats of methyl-methacrylate laced sealer,,, i'd bet traction measures well against broom'd conc.

Bud Cline 08-07-2009 10:00 PM


middle w/stencil & pneumatic-power'd hopper gun;
OK, now I'm curious......

I got the hopper gun part but how were the mortar joints replicated?

PaliBob 08-08-2009 02:22 AM

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Casey, You will have to cover ALL the concrete with whatever material you choose otherwise it will look unfinished.

I would suggest a varicolored or varihued stone pavers preferably in random shapes to break with the visual symmetry of all that brick on the side of the house.

To get a better idea of what is available in your area you need to find a really good masonry Supply even if you have to drive fifty miles. You won't find anything at the Big Box stores. You need to find out where the masonry contractors go. I don't know where you are in Virginia but here is a search for Richmond.

I am lucky to have a great source 5 miles away in Santa Monica:

stadry 08-08-2009 05:38 AM

after prepping surfaces, we squeegee on a base coat w/integral color we wish for mortar jnts,,, after curing, lay tape pattern for jnts & coat w/2nd course ( i use pool trowels or funny ' trowels to save wear 'n' tear on my 67yr old back :yes: ),,, let top course cure, apply addl hi-light color wash's as need'd/desir'd, pull tape, & seal.

for the brick, stencils come in 1Ksf rolls - varyng patterns incl geek's random stone,,, prep, base coat, stencil, lock-down coat same color, top coat, pull stencil, seal,,, pick up ck :laughing: expect you've already got most of the tools, bud,,, if not, head for ebay or a well-stock'd pawn shop as did i.

what a country ! ! ! :thumbup:

ps - pavers change elevations someplace along the line,,, possibly just enough to create trip hazards.

Bud Cline 08-08-2009 08:40 AM


expect you've already got most of the tools, bud,,,,
Oh no you don't.......I'm not interested in doing that stuff. I have enough to do as it is. I had a hunch tape was used to replicate mortar joints but didn't know for sure when doing a job that appears to be all brick-pavers.

There was a job done at a nearby Holiday Inn that was a simulated stone field with a soldier-coursed brick edge on the outdoor semi-covered walkways. I was tiling room-baths while a contractor was doing the outside. Tape was used for the brick patterns there but to do a massive amount of tape was mind boggling to me. That job failed the first winter with areas spalling here and there.:)

I would try some of that at home maybe but not for hire.:)

Casey12081 08-08-2009 10:32 AM

Wow, I have to say I am pretty blown away. I have heard of stamped/acid etched concrete but have never actually seen any. Still can't believe how great it looks...

Casey12081 08-08-2009 10:54 AM

Thanks for the info, I have been searching for the wrong thing and it was getting frustrating. Never thought to search masonry supply. My "duh" moment for the day. Home Depot and Lowe's were horrible for what I am looking for, now I can get something done!

Itsreallyconc, you're stuff looks fantastic but I can tell that you are pretty experienced. I am also assuming that it is not nearly as easy as you make it sound! If it was everyone would do it, right? Where would I find the stencils/supplies? And it's chemical, so if I jack it all up will I still be able to put something over it? I always hope for the best but plan for the worst:)

Bud Cline 08-08-2009 11:11 AM

Casey with most of those products the truth is.......

You can't do anything you can't fix.:) The deeper truth is.......
The success of the project is in the preparation. The prep isn't the fun part but it is the most crucial part.:)

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